In the United States, soccer has never become quite as popular as football, baseball, basketball, or even hockey. Even with the US Women's Team winning the World Cup, and the arrival of David Beckham, American soccer has still taken a backseat to other sports in the popular conscious. However, elsewhere in the world, soccer, or as the rest of the planet calls it – football, is basically a religion. The sports gods of every other country are football (soccer) gods and the best players have the record breaking contracts to show for it. If you've ever watched a show like "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" or "Cribs", and shaken your head at the palatial spreads of basketball and American football stars, you'll be blown away by the bling on display in the homes of the world's elite soccer stars. You want to make it big in sports? Put down the pigskin and your bat, buy a plane ticket to any other country in the world, and start using your feet. Here's a glimpse of what could be yours in terms of numbers.
Net Worth: $180 million
House: $5 million
It stands to reason that Lionel Messi, arguably the sport's most consistently excellent player, would have a ridiculous home. By age 21, he'd already been nominated for a Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year Award. Over the years, he has won just about every soccer award possible, and he's got more endorsement deals than any one person should ever have. He's currently worth around $180 million and has a Barcelona FC salary of a happy $21.2 million. His $5 million home has a spa, a private screening room, and an indoor football pitch. He's quite private, however, so don't expect there to be any "Cribs"-style documentaries made about his space anytime soon.
Net Worth: $120 million
House: $17 million
Called the "best footballer in England" by a host of sports related publications, Wayne Rooney, holds the record for being the youngest English player to ever score a goal in an international match. He's won the Premier League Player of the Year Award five times, among other honors, and he's the fifth highest British goalscorer in history. Interestingly, he also ties with David Beckham for most red-carded player in England. He's got a net worth of $125 million and a massive, custom built $17 million mansion in Prestbury, Cheshire, England. It cost almost $2 million just to clear the land for the multi-building compound to sit on. It also comes complete with Manchester United personal security to keep out unwanted fans.
Net Worth: $250 million
House: $7 million
The highest ranked player when it comes to just about, well, everything, Cristiano Ronaldo currently holds the second place spot as top goalscorer of all time in UEFA competition. He's been named FIFA Player of Year and World Soccer Player of the Year. He's won the Ballon d'Or a couple of times and the Onze d'Or. He's the most expensive player in soccer history, and the highest paid soccer player on the planet. Basically, he's a soccer god. His net worth is $250 million, and he makes $28 million a year with Real Madrid. He recently put his home in England on sale. He had it built while he was playing for Manchester United. The $7 million home features multiple skylights, big, open, modern spaces, and lots of gleaming chrome. It's got two pools, seven bedrooms, and a game room with a large screen TV and disco lights. At 3000 square meters, there's also space to kick his ball around in the house.
Net Worth: $90 million
House: $14.5 million
The player that put the Ivory Coast on the International football map, Didier Drogba is the Ivory Coast's top goal scorer ever, and is the current captain of their national team. He became a fan favorite while playing for Chelsea from 2004 to 2012, and is the first African player to win the Golden Foot. He's also the only player to have ever scored in four separate appearances in the FA Cup Finals. He currently plays for Galatasaray. He has a net worth of $90 million and a $14.5 million 8600 square foot home that features eight bathrooms, seven bedrooms, rooms for children, and a trophy room, of course. Drogba is heavily involved in charity work, and regularly donates a portion of his salary to efforts to rebuild struggling areas in and around the Ivory Coast.
Net Worth: $20 million
House: $2.5 million
Stephen Ireland is actually more well-known for his house than for his football skill. One of Ireland's best players, he began his professional career on a promising note in 2005, playing for Manchester City. He played well and quickly established himself as a young player to watch. However, after a nasty falling out with the Republic of Ireland team, his international football career was no more, putting a decided dent in his potential for mass popularity. He was subsequently swapped twice, finally ending up with Newcastle United, where his level of play improved noticeably, earning him the Fans Player of the Season Award. Unfortunately, that was short-lived, and he now plays for Stoke City. He's reportedly spent all of his money on his lavish home and multiple cars. His house in Prestbury, Cheshire, England, is a long, low, brick structure, with modern touches. It sports six bedrooms, a private movie theater, an indoor pool, a billiards room with a black pool table with his name on it, and a bright Pepto-Bismol pink bedroom for his daughter, one of his three children.
Net Worth: $35 million
House: $7 million
Peter Crouch rose up through the ranks relatively slowly, but consistently. He's won an FA Shield and FA Cup, and with Stoke City, his current team, he's been "Player of the Year". He was Stoke City's top scorer during the 2013-2014 season. He has a net worth of $35 million and reportedly makes $130,000 a week playing for the team. His home is a lavish $7 million abode, with gleaming chrome, large windows, and ample grounds. It also includes a private movie theater, a dressing room, its own fitness center, and a pool.
Net Worth: $45 million
House: $10. 5 million
Gareth Bale is the footballer other footballers talk about as the next big thing. At 24, he's already made waves everywhere, and word on the street is that he's only going to improve with age. He's been named PFA Player of the Year twice, as well as FWA Footballer of the Year, and PFA Young Player of the Year. He and Cristiano Ronaldo are the only footballers to have ever won PFA Player, Young Player, and FWA Player of the Year in the same year. His 2013 transfer to Real Madrid reportedly came with a record setting $144 million transfer fee. By comparison, when his Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo was traded, his transfer fee was $135 million. Bale's net worth is $45 million and he makes a $25 million salary. His $10.5 million house is just down the road from Cristiano Ronaldo and Penelope Cruz, in the super swanky Pozuelo de Alarcon neighborhood in Madrid. It's basically the Spanish equivalent to the Hollywood Hills. His home sports a six-car garage, an indoor swimming pool, and multiple private balconies and terraces.
Net Worth: $20 million
House: $6.54 million
Phil Neville was a professional player from 1995 to 2013. He became widely recognized for his versatility and his ability to play multiple positions equally well. He spent his youth career and the first ten years of his senior career with Manchester United, before moving on to play for Everton through his retirement. Due to his excellent understanding of multiple positions, it seemed only fitting that he would move laterally to coaching. He's now the first team coach for Manchester United. He has a net worth of $20 million and a $6.54 million apartment 400 hundred feet up in the air. The gleaming, modern home, which is located in the Beetham Tower, has four bedrooms, multiple walk-in closets, en suite bathrooms, a private movie theater, and 5000 square feet of living space. He's in the process of trying to sell it. In the meantime, he's renting it for $25,000 per month.
Net Worth: $60 million
House: $15 million
Thierry Henry made a name for himself playing for Arsenal, becoming the club's top scorer for almost every year of his eight year career with the team. While playing in Spain for Barcelona, he won every major football award. He's been named to the EUFA Team of the Year five times. He is France's top scorer of all time. He's currently signed with the New York Red Bulls. He's had a great deal of success with endorsement deals and has a net worth of $60 million. He has two homes, one in New York and one in London. His New York abode, worth $15 million, is a massive penthouse in Soho, featuring four bedrooms and stunning floor-to-ceiling windows and high ceilings. His home in London is reportedly being remodeled to accommodate the installation of a $400,000 fish tank. The fish tank will stand some 40 feet high, and will wind its way up the entire interior of the four story home, so that it can be seen from every floor.
Net Worth: $90 million
House: $4.6 million
Andres Iniesta is probably the most universally loved player currently kicking around the pitch. Fans love him. Other players love him. The media loves him. Word on the street is that he is actually just a genuinely good dude. In addition to being nice, he is also known as one of the most consistent players alive, and has been named UEFA Best Player in Europe, IFFHS World's Best Playmaker twice, and La Liga Spanish Player of the Year. He won the Marca Legend Award in 2011, and was also runner-up to Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or in 2010. His net worth is $90 million and his $4.6 million custom built house has his named carved on the outside of it. It features five bedrooms, a private chapel, and a gorgeous pool.
Net Worth: $350 million
House: $70 million
Between his pyrotechnic playing ability, his endorsement and modeling deals, his marriage to the woman formerly known as "Posh Spice", and his legendary temper, David Beckham basically became a football institution all his own. He is ranked as one of FIFA's 100 Greatest Living Players, and he is the first English player to win titles in four countries. Prior to his retirement in 2013, he was the highest paid player ever. He is considered by many clubs to be a consummate professional and hard worker, and has the endorsement deals and worldwide fame to show for it. He purchased a home with his wife in England which was nicknamed "Beckingham Palace" by the British press. The massive Georgian-style mansion, has seven bedrooms, a recording studio, a gym, and a games room, among other amenities. They sold it in 2012 for around $20 million and purchased a home in Los Angeles. They are now reportedly eyeing a $70 million townhouse in London.
Net Worth: $50 million
House: $2.5 million
In just the last few years alone, Neymar has spent $750,000 on a triplex condominium and $2 million on a mansion in a gated community. Both properties are located on in the Northern Coast section of Sao Paulo. He also bought a $150,000 apartment in downtown Sao Paulo. When he's in Spain, Neymar lives in a $2.5 million mansion on the outskirts of Barcelona.